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Mentally Sound Inspiration

As a mental health advocate, and someone who lives with a significant amount of anxiety on a daily basis, inspirational quotes are something I have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand, there are some very supportive quotes, ones where you can tell that the author has an understanding that life is not black and white, especially for those living with a mental health condition. Quotes like these are hopeful, and uplifting, even for those in a dark place. There are an abundance of others, however, that make happiness seem like a choice.

Below we have suggested some replacements for your go-to motivational quotes:

When you are feeling unsure about yourself and need some motivation:

Use this: “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.”

Instead of: “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.”

The first quote is helping you to build evidence of your past successes and to use those as a way to understand your potential and move forward. The second is telling you to ignore your feelings and to just do what you need to do already. It feels judgemental, and for those who have depression, getting up, getting dressed, and getting to work can all feel very impossible on certain days.

When you are feeling like yesterday didn’t go so well and you need a fresh start:

Use this: “Every day is a new beginning. Take a deep breath, smile, and start again.”

Instead of: “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”

The first quote can be a game changer. If you have anxiety, it’s common to relive something you did yesterday or even weeks ago that you wish you could have done differently (i.e., regretting something you said that may have hurt someone’s feelings, wishing you hadn’t missed that deadline, etc.). Acknowledging the importance of focusing on your breathing and thinking of today as a fresh start (clearing your anxiety “cache” so to speak) is so important. The second quote, while perhaps motivation for some, places the importance of consistently making headway to who you want to be or what you want to achieve. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, not every day can be productive or life-fulfilling and those with anxiety most likely already berate themselves for not having done enough.

When you are overwhelmed by feelings of sadness or depression:

Use this: “Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.”

Instead of: “People are as happy as they make up their mind to be.”

This first quote helps to normalize what the person is feeling and gives them hope that these feelings will pass. It acknowledge a healthy reaction to difficult feelings without judgement. The second quote makes happiness a choice that everyone has, when in reality, it often isn’t for people who suffer from serious mental health conditions. A happy day might occur naturally once every several weeks or months, and making someone feel badly about not being able to “choose happiness” can make things worse.

As you go through your daily lives, whether you’re posting on Facebook, advising a friend, or finding an inspirational decoration for your home, think about what message is truly healthy, impactful, and motivating and be aware of how you could be impacting those with a mental health condition.